Govt e-commerce stand under attack – again

Cyber Rights accuses IBM & BT of ignoring privacy issues when advising govt

There's further pressure on the government today to rethink its stand on e-commerce following the publication of an open letter by the campaigning group Cyber-Rights & Cyber-Liberties (UK). In an open letter to the heads of IBM and BT, Cyber-Rights claims that employees of BT and Big Bleugh helped advise the government on key policy areas. While it applauds the work done to drop key escrow, Cyber-Rights warns that other measures could infringe civil liberties. "The proposals that have emerged from this work, in which your representatives were involved, are beneficial to the extent that they have removed the immediate threat of key escrow," wrote Dr Brian Gladman, technology policy adviser at Cyber-rights. "But worrying provisions remain for government access to decryption keys and these will have serious privacy and civil rights consequences if they persist in their current form," he said. A spokesman for IBM confirmed it had advised the government and had given technical advice on certain aspects of the bill. But he said that people should recognise the contribution IBM and others made to the increased level of debate over this issue. Yesterday, the Internet Services Providers Association (ISPA) -- the UK trade organisation for ISPs -- criticised the ecommerce bill and said too much emphasis was placed on policing the Net and not enough was being spent on e-commerce itself. ®

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